John 8.1-11:

            Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.   Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.

            Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.  When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

             Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

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            As we are gathered by God and the Church for a journey we call Lent, we do well to keep mindful that Christ is leading us.  In the midst of these forty days, Christ is teaching us.  As we grow deeper one with another, our Lord is refining us and shaping us still.  Humility and grace are tangible and come to us in holy Lent as life giving fruit that nourishes us for the day.        

            In the gospel text of the day Jesus is teaching.  Jesus teaches with words and action.  The form of his ministry is just as poignant as the words uttered by the teacher.  During this Lent, I hope we can allow ourselves in the midst of busy life to “sit down” with Jesus and be taught. And if we do, I have a strong theological hunch that we will surely catch a glimpse of the “Light of the World” again (read just verse 12 for a hint). 

            The teacher here offers a lesson that breathes life.  When God gathers people, death is to be dismissed.  When God gathers people, grace and liberation arrive on the scene.  When God confronts us in our honesty, we are humbled in beautiful ways.  When Jesus gathers the faithful, we are claimed anew and reminded that we are a peculiar people claimed in our baptism.  We are different; how can we throw stones at others?   When Jesus comes to us in our own moments of life, how can we stone even our own selves?  Lent is a time to reflect seriously on the life of the Savior.  He does not condemn, but gives us a new way. 

Dear Lord, Gather us in that we might learn.

Teach us your ways and shape us anew. 

We offer our whole selves to you this day.

Rev. Thaddaeus B. Allen

Regional Minister

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